Agriculture students shine at Royal Cheshire Show

Reaseheath agriculture students had a great two days at the Royal Cheshire County Show, competing in cattle and pig showing classes and helping organisers to ensure that the schedule ran smoothly.

The county’s premier agricultural show, being run under ‘royal’ status for the first time, attracted competitors from across the country and showcased the best aspects of farming and rural life.

Our Level 3 Diploma in Agriculture students enjoyed first day success in the cattle section, winning a fistful of rosettes with four youngstock from the Reaseheath Holstein dairy herd and five beef shorthorn cattle from the Bridge House pedigree herd. The students trained and prepared the shorthorns for the show for Sandbach farmer George Sutton, one of many local supporters who offer our students industry experience, and also prepared out own cattle for the showring.

Reaseheath Holstein were awarded first, second, fifth and sixth placings in breed youngstock classes with students James Henderson, Matt Gilbert, Zoe Brunt and Hope Tatton and were third in a pairs class when shown by Libby Turner and Matt Gilbert.

We were also successful in the Young Handler classes, with Libby, Zoe, Hope and James being well placed.

The rosettes kept coming in during the judging of the beef section, with Libby and James Hodgkinson winning the pairs class. Students Alex Lightfoot, Eden Grey, Charlie Morris, Jacob Eley and Paige Jepson were also placed with the beef shorthorns.

The final accolade came with the announcement that we had won the dairy ‘tidy lines’ competition and were runners-up in the beef ‘tidy lines’ competition – awarded for high standards of animal care. Our students were also involved in stewarding and in the grand parade.

Two other agriculture students, Kostja Vezanovs and Aidan Simmons, took on key roles in the pig section, helping with bio-security measures and ensuring that the livestock accommodation remained top class for animals, exhibitors and spectators.

Kostja and Aidan were rewarded on Day 2 of the show with the opportunity to show Large Whites for traditional pig breeders Stephen and Mandy Booth from Lymm, another of our supporters. Both students entered the Young Handler competition, gaining a creditable third and fourth placing.

Said Kostja, who is shortly leaving for a year’s placement in the USA: “This was a really different experience which I thoroughly enjoyed.”

Commending the students for their commitment, Stephen Booth said: “Ring craft can be a daunting task but both Kostja and Aidan adapted well and tackled their learning curve with enthusiasm and humour. They were a credit to Reaseheath and would be welcome to help at any other show.”

We were also approached by the South Devon Cattle Society which was holding its national show at the Royal Cheshire Show. Several our students were allowed to help prepare the animals and take them into the showring – a real test of stockmanship and showmanship

Another Level 3 Diploma student, Will May, was kept busy demonstrating sheep shearing in Sainsbury’s Agri Centre, while our equine students provided the arena party in the working hunter rings.

Royal Cheshire Show President Vic Croxson, a former Principal of Reaseheath College, said: “Reaseheath’s students have made a vital contribution to the efficient running of the show, which is recognised as the leading summertime event in the north of England. They helped us make the event a memorable occasion for our visitors, competitors and exhibitors, and we were delighted at their professional attitude. They have also proved their showmanship skills in the rings alongside leading professionals.”

Reaseheath’s stand provided its usual range of family activities, with visitors queuing to ride the college’s mechanical horse and have a go on a driving simulator. Other activities, under the banner ‘We are Reaseheath’, included the chance to make floral buttonholes, milk a model cow and learn new construction skills.

Stand organiser Stephanie Owen said: “This has been a fantastic opportunity for us to demonstrate the range of vocational courses we offer. We are very proud of the success of our students and coming to the Royal Cheshire Show gives us a great platform to show the public what we can do.”

The show also provided our Student Association with a final fundraising opportunity, enabling them to reach a record £25,000 which this year goes to the British Heart Foundation.